(CBS) — We often hear of young men from tough neighborhoods going in and out of jail multiple times. CBS 2’s Jim Williams introduces us to an Englewood native who changed his life with one thought and is now spreading a message of peace.
On this block in Englewood, a community garden is budding and so is a young man’s life.
“We actually plant seeds to grow ourselves,” said Quentin Mables.
Mables’ growth began shortly after he stood with friends in the neighborhood.
“Playing ball and a group of guys came through and fired shots at us,” he said. “And I was like I wasn’t going to stand for it again.”
So he got gun and ended up arrested on a weapons charge. Held at Cook County Jail, he was consumed by one thought.
“It wasn’t the food, even though it was nasty. It wasn’t the guards telling you when to shower.”
It was knowing his little daughter was on the outside without her father.
“I felt like I let her down,” Mables said. “She needed me the most at that point.”
It was turning point. When he was released, Mables became at stalwart at the Peace House, a small community center in the middle a community with pockets of abandoned buildings.
“I actually look at Quentin and say he is going to be a leader in this community,” said Robbin Carroll.
A leader, and entrepreneur, now making his own line of T-shirts saying “Bury guns not people,” a message resonating in Englewood. Twenty five percent of the proceeds are going to ‘I Grow Chicago,’ the group that owns the Peace House.
“They’ve been tremendously supportive of me, my friends and all of my ideas so it was only right that I that you give back,” Mables said.
Quentin Mables also mentors other young people in Englewood and even teaches yoga. Violence is still a problem in the immediate area of the Peace House, but folks there say it has declined sharply in recent months. They tell us Quintin a big part of that.